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In this Monday, May 9, 1989 file photo, Dr. James Hansen, then-director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, testifies before a Senate Transportation subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., a year after his history-making testimony telling the world that global warming was here and would get worse. 

Climate and taxes

The climate story published Sept. 30 in The World-Herald (“At Creighton, climatologist James Hansen warns that the Midlands’ weather extremes will get worse”) indicated that the scientist who spoke Sunday in Omaha advocates encumbering society with another tax.

He noted that five of the top 10 Missouri River stages at Omaha have occurred in the last 10 years.

Hmm. That period coincides with the weakest sunspot cycle over the last 10 years (1914-present). Cycle 24 started in December 2008 and is now ending, with activity 47% below average.

Unless cycle 25 picks up the pace, you could tax every lump of coal in the country, right down to Frosty the Snowman’s eyes, and not cause Missouri River basin runoff to quiet down to a more normal range.

Jerry Tworek, Omaha

Median vs. average

Reading Randall Bradley’s letter, I do not doubt his facts (“Don’t ignore economic progress,” Oct. 4 Public Pulse).

What I question is if he clearly understands the difference between “median” and “average” incomes. The two resulting figures are usually quite different.

Average is just that, the average of all reported data, in this case income. Median is the figure defining the point where 50% are above and 50% below the line.

For example if 49% of the wage earners were at $25,000 yearly income; 2% were at $63,000 and the remaining 49% at $100,000, then the median would be $63,000. The average would be $73,500, but 51% would still substantially below the average, and even the median.

Fred Hall, Lincoln

Sasse leads the way

Oct. 3 was a proud moment for Nebraskans. Sen. Ben Sasse pulled away from partisan norms and pushed ethical government practices; he put country over party by decrying President Donald Trump’s suggestion for China to investigate the Bidens.

Sasse made us Nebraskans look good, and we should follow his lead. Perhaps if someone of his political influence can call out unethical behavior, we as Nebraskans can, too. By being one of the first of his party to push back against the president’s suggestions for Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Sasse bravely marked a path, one that we hope more Republican senators and representatives will pursue as elections draw closer.

No matter what the issue (or nonissue) with the Biden family may be, Sasse reminded Americans that our very own country is the best suited for handling investigations and for ensuring integrity among our presidential candidates. Sasse trusts our justice system, and his comments encourage us to do the same.

Sasse doesn’t stand behind threatening or bullying, by anyone, and he is encouraging us to do the same. Will we have the courage, like Sasse, to put country over party?

Breanne Potter, Omaha

Nebraska chapter lead, Mormon Women for Ethical Government

GOP and trouble with the truth

I volunteered, at age 18, for service during the Vietnam conflict and the height of the Cold War. I swore then to protect and defend the Constitution — you know, that document that created the three equal branches of government that check the others’ power, in addition to relegating other specific roles like power of the purse to the Congress (not the executive).

I’m sickened by what I see and hear from our elected politicians but even more so from my fellow Americans who aren’t interested in finding the truth and instead reduce everything to R vs. D.

The latest edition of truth denial is the president of the United States clearly and verifiably holding an ally hostage by withholding congressionally approved defense funding in exchange for a “favor” to investigate the president’s political rival. This despite that the ally is currently fighting a war with Russia — the same country that interfered in our 2016 election, and whom Donald Trump has never held accountable.

Politicians unfortunately live “down” to their reputation as being people who are looking out for themselves and not for the best interests of their constituents or the Constitution. And at no time since I was old enough to vote has this reputation been so vividly on display.

Deny, deflect, defend at all costs — for what? It appears as if Rep. Don Bacon and Sens. Deb Fischer and Joni Ernst didn’t take the oath seriously.

Randall Jones, Omaha

Make the world great again

After reading the Oct. 3 Public Pulse, I would agree with Lisa Todd’s letter, “Stop fighting the president.”

Members of Congress should get on with doing the job they are supposed to be doing.

They are acting like little kids. There is so much to do that would make our country great again.

So many of us old timers on Social Security need a raise.

We need to work for peace around the world.

Let’s work on making the whole world a place to be great again.

Gerald Hansen, Omaha

Ukraine situation

The last several weeks, news has focused on the Ukraine situation and the related potential terrible things it is about.

In talking to numerous people in the Omaha area — old, middle aged and younger — about Ukraine, I found out that they really don’t care what President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden or Joe the Plumber may or might have done on the issue.

They want Congress to get to work on these issues, not necessarily in this order:

» Fix the roads and the bridges.

» Improve the educational system to provide our young people with knowledge and skills to make a living.

» Create an immigration system that benefits the U.S. and not the world.

» Draft trade policies that allow American workers to compete on a level playing field.

» Ensure that our elderly, disabled and poor who are unable to work are fed and housed properly.

» Reduce the size of government and spending.

Joseph R. Dixon, Omaha

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